Not much humor here, but there is a life lesson: you can kill yourself with baking soda.


We volunteered to sell beer and wine at a folk festival. After our shift, we had fish and chips from a local vendor in the gymnasium. I ate both my pieces, and when Lady only ate one, I took a big  bite of her’s before tossing it. Four hours later I was sick. Violent cold shivers called rigors. Temperature. Sweats. Nausea. Diarrhea. Next morning I recovered, did stuff, ate a lot. That night it started again, and next morning I went into violent cold shakes for 40 minutes solid. Finally outlasted it and was fine again. Did stuff, ate more. Lady wanted me to go to the ER, but my symptoms were gone, plus I’m a manly man, and was raised poor which means it’s ingrained you don’t go to the doctor unless you have to be carried because it costs money. That evening I started the violent shakes again and knew I couldn’t make it through another night of it. Lady said my skin turned blue gray, I became incoherent, would get two words into a sentence and fade, and then I started making strange “noises”. She was terrified, sure I was dying, so she called 911 and two firemen carried me out, drove me to the ER, where they gave me a saline drip which brought me back to coherent reality and then sat me in the hallway in a wheelchair for 3-4 hours waiting for a bed to open up. I was freezing so went to a couple empty rooms and stole sheets and blankets and wrapped myself up and found 1 Tylenol in my pocket for the pain. Hour later Lady arrived and found I hadn’t been registered, so signed me in, then soothed my ragged beast as best she could. Long short of it after going down wrong rabbit holes due to too many symptoms including dehydration and anemia and sepsis, it was E. coli poisoning from the fish. I don’t know how it became septic, but I was already anemic because I’d been taking baking soda for decades to stop my stomach acid reflux – having taken chemistry three times (high school, the USNA Prep School, and the US Naval Academy, getting a lower grade each time), I knew baking soda was a base that would neutralize stomach acid – and it did, for decades. Told all my doctors and nurses over the years about my use, and researched it repeatedly on the net and found no problems. Finally the hospital nutritionist explained baking soda got rid of too much stomach acid so there wasn’t enough to process the vitamins and nutrients I needed from the healthy food I ate so I became anemic over the years, and the lack of iron made my swallowing muscles weak so I had trouble swallowing water, so I didn’t drink enough, so I was also dehydrated – plus poisoned by E. coli. Two days sick home, three days in ER and hospital. They poured antibiotics and iron drips and saline solutions and vitamin shots into me. Said much more delay in getting to ER would have been fatal. The B-12 shots and the iron drips perked up my body and my mind started zinging. Grateful for the fine medical help, and that I got sick on the fish we ate instead of Lady – she’s our breadwinner and a lot of web customers rely on her daily. Plus I know how to suffer, have experience at it, do it well, and so far survive.


Ever onward, until we don’t.

The Bad Narrative Covid Blues

The Bad Narrative Covid Blues

“You tellin’ yerself lies, boy, got the story all wrong,” laughs the now voice in my head over my miserable misanalysis of then.

10 days ago I took an open pack of hotdogs out of the fridge and microwaved two. Read the back during heating and found sell-by-date 3 weeks past. Sniffed them, seemed fine, so scarfed them.

Was fine till 3 a.m. when I woke in brutal pain . . . knew from experience it had to be food poisoning, which I’d had in Marrakech, and Baltimore, and Cleveland. Don’t know how, but when the body ingests poisons, it tries to flush it any way it can, so I’m in the bathroom, stomach water gushing from mouth, rude water rushing below, mass of pain up and down in and out.

Eventually one runs out of stomach content, but the body keeps on, so you try to bring up stomach lining.

O what a retch am I.

Round 8 a.m. Lady askes how I’m doing. “I think I’d rather die.”

9 a.m. finally get some Tylenol to stay down.

10-noon sleep in LazyBoy, wake with hope.

By 2 p.m. my chilled, shivering body is sitting on the deck in the sun, sucking in heat, toking to control nausea and pain.

At 3 p.m. my 3 a.m. body has regained some of its sense of humor, and I drink coffee, eat well, enjoy the remaining day, and at 3 a.m. wake with bowel water rapids again, but no vomiting. Food poisoning doesn’t work that way, I say. Lady theorizes my over indulgence irritated my irritated innerds.

Went to ExpressCare.

They take blood, give me intestine coating medicine that blocks my bowels, send me home, and call me later saying my blood’s looking bad, my kidneys may fail. Tell me to drink lots of water and come back in 3 days for blood test.

Go back 4 days later, get more blood drawn, then go get my second Covid-19 booster.

Day later (yesterday) Lady gets cold sniffles, then slight fever, then dry cough, thinks it may be Covid. Today we get her tested at the pharmacy. She has Covid. I take a home test. I have Covid.

Lady being logical calls the hospital, they say they’ll send her some medicine tomorrow to help. She has me call too. They look at my bloodwork and tell me my food poisoning wasn’t food poisoning, was Covid instead, and that I’m pretty much over it, my blood and kidneys are fine.

We notify anyone we’ve seen past 10 days, and now wait to see how bad Lady’s bout is going to be, me sitting here knowing I gave the love of my life the disease of our life, and there’s little I can do to ease her burden.

The good news (???) — she’s 27 years younger so has more to fight with, and says she’s glad it’s respiratory rather than far flung bodily fluids . . . though misery is misery, so who knows what that means.

Right now she sleeps, tossing, moaning, groaning, 101°, waiting for some better somewhere down the line.

– Smith 5.19.2022

2 little Covid-19s here

Lady tested positive for Covid-19 in a Walgreen’s drive-thru, so I tried a home test and find I have it as well. She has a sore throat, not sick, and I’m basically fine. See what happens.

Fone nurse said where we are now is as bad as it should get, and this isn’t even vaguely bad, so I’m glad we finally got it. The waiting was worse.

update — fone doctor said my 3 day bout of food poisoning last week when I gushed liquids from both ends wasn’t food poisoning but was actually Covid-19, and that now I’m okay.

Who knew.

the USA ~ 10th deadliest plague country

Wheee – World Population Milestones
(currently 7,800,000,000 humans)

10 Billion (2057 projected)
9 Billion (2037 projected)
8 Billion (2023 – projected)
7 Billion 2011… took 12 years
6 Billion 1999… took 12 years
5 Billion: 1987… took 13 years
4 Billion: 1974… took 14 years
3 Billion: 1960… took 30 years
2 Billion: 1930… took 126 years
1 Billion: 1804… took 315,000 years

are we dying faster, or borning less?
or both?

Out of 215 countries, the US is the 10th deadliest for Covid-19 deaths per million… we’re way down in 3rd world territory here.

10 worst Covid-19 national death rates per million population
10 – 617 – USA
09 – 627 – Equador
08 – 642 – Chile
07 – 645 – Brazil
06 – 654 – Bolivia
05 – 656 – Spain
04 – 686 – Andorra
03 – 858 – Belgium
02 – 952 – Peru
01 – 1,237 – San Marino

World-wide average is 124.5 deaths per million population,
with South Korea at 8 deaths per million, and Japan at 12.

US has 4.2% of the world population, yet 21% of it’s almost 1 million reported plague deaths

One scientist estimated 94% of American deaths are due to Trump’s incompetence and corruption, and could have been prevented… this would mean 192,000 American deaths could have been prevented by competent, honest leadership.

Are you a Chump for Trump?
If so, why?

(of course, most or all are under-reporting their death rates, while many – like Florida – have been caught outright lying)

no spineless I

The spine is supposed to be straight.

(is that a screw lower left,
or are you just happy to see me?)

A Crooked Man

There was a crooked man
not politician or banker
nor CEO or priest or moral shanker
(though all fine crooks in each their way)
but a simple guy with crooked sight
who thought fair meant fair
and right meant right
no matter how rich or big or tall
the same truths applied to all
if A were rule for man with penny
A must abide for man with many
if B is wrong for one with naught
it’s just as wrong for one with lots
as poor pay tax and serve and fight
so should rich add their might
and give to keep this going going
this very world they seem to be whoring
using lawyers politicians guns and money
not to mention TV and honey
to dull our minds to take our score
demanding we must pay far more
so wealth in growth can glow galore
they say less more than we deserve
think we’d be happy we’re not tempted
by all they buy with money exempted
and they’re probably right
in Zen light
for stuff is trouble
stuff takes space
stuff grows like fungus in dark dank place
stuff needs storage stuff needs safe
stuff sucks storer stuff takes place
stuff becomes bad bit breath
stuff stiffs stuff
stuff self-smit
so bet on tortoise
forget the hare
stuff is rigor mortis
stufflessness free air
winning is failing
failing success
oh the meek shall inherit
one hell of a mess

– Smith, 2011

statused Lady

2 recent Lady statuses on Facebook…
her new poem 4.12.2020, and eye status yesterday.

~ ~ ~

I cup you the habit of our automatic mornings
your sidling up to me from the murk of 4 a.m.
your plump warm lips

There’s the essence reconstructed when I’m grounded
from the meta meta meta-ing: I feel you as an animal friend,
a mammal, the surprise of a smile

I’d purchase an inch of your plucky chest flesh
touch my lips to your silk clay skin sprouting
productive bristles of salt and pepper beard

In particular you are a lean-to of a man
a codger, an otter shaking its beard
in the water a duck a bear scratching its back
or sometimes you quicken like a snake
and howl at the dogs
who bite you on the head

Words fall from you like rubble, like skin cells,
your casual casting aside, your
quizzical scratches, natural gravity,
my feel good lazy boy companion

~ ~ ~

The doctor who gave me the eye injection yesterday is an understudy of my doc. He’s a bit unsure of himself and also did not give me numbing swabs (which help a lot) initially. He gave me two numbing drops and right away proceeded to inject me with another numbing shot before the big needle. I wasn’t expecting the numbing needle as usually they do the swabs first! So I jumped and the needle pulled out!

He said he’s sorry, that he couldn’t do anything, and that I needed to be still. I was absolutely sure I could not have that needle applied without jumping again, and I felt like throwing up. I said, “What about the swabs?” He got the swabs (about 4% lidocaine) and applied them and we waited 10 minutes.

Then he marked my eye with a pen for the big needle, and it hurt! I was panicked again at this point and asked for more swabs, so he applied more swabs. Then he was able to give me the numbing shot, no problem, and then another 10 minutes later the big needle, which this time was no problem (it had been before).

The numbing shot provides a bubble of juice through which they inject the bigger needle for the steroid. Crazy! The first time I had the big needle, I could feel it at the end point pricking *inside the eye.* The docs know when to pull the needle back out because there’s a release when the capsule goes through, a click.

He told me to tap my feet as I was given the big needle, that it would provide another focus for my brain and I would not notice the needle as much. I’m actually the one who told him about this trick last year.

The difference between this needle and the one I’d been getting initially is that they are actually inserting a dissolvable steroid capsule, where before they were injecting fluid. I much prefer the fluid, because of the needle size, and because I can see the capsule bobbing around in my eye for a month after they put it in (it’s yellow!). But the drug makers make more money with the capsule, so they have made the liquid steroid scarce.

Ever since my main doctor stopped giving me the shots and has had understudies do it, it’s been pretty traumatic and I get upset the rest of the day. I want the understudies to gain experience though, and I’m also actually too shy to ask my doc to do the needle rather than them.

Lady K eye cancer news (basically good)

Lady had her extremely rare (1 out of 2,000,000) eye cancer tumor radiated March 2017.

Then in March 2018 she had cataract surgery for that eye since the radiation worsened the cataracts.

For two month she had great vision, better than in years, but now her retina is swelling from radiation damage so they stuck a needle in her eye yesterday to give her a shot of steroids.

The tumor’s dying. Catscans say it has not spread, and is extremely unlikely to.

So now it’s a cat and mouse game of healing her eye from radiation damage.

Last foto is skylight at Cole Eye Institute up at Cleveland Clinic.

the lady & the doors van morrison

When I walk, my right arm thumps against my side, large, hard, like a massive weight lifter’s appendage, but this hard and heavy isn’t from exercise but rather swollen flesh protesting the knives and saws and pryings screwings bruisings of my second shoulder replacement.

Major change in pain pill philosophy. My two days in the hospital they gave me three 5 mg oxycodone pills every 4 hours, sometimes tossing in an injection of dilaudid as well. So one day in hospital was 24 pills. They released me with a prescription for one pill every six hours, or 4 pills per day. Fortunately this time it’s all low level pain, so I can manage. Bit hypocritical of them though.


Conversation with Wife 38

“Is penultimate the power of the pen?”
she ponders.

“Our salad was good,
the goat cheese, red onions and apples had synergy.”
Original synergy?

What’s choux?
“I think it’s an eggy dough.”
Didn’t Eggy Dough record with Iggy Pop?

“OK, you know what…” she starts.
I used to know What,
I dated his daughter, young Why.
She was a handful.

“What are we going to do about these hurricanes?”
Change the name to himicanes, let em go impotant.

“You know who drove the Doors? – Van Morrison.”

Where’d the fun go?
“Down the funnel.”

 – Smith, 10.22.2017